How I Learned to Love Email by Using it Less
Email. You love it, but you hate it.
Or maybe you just hate it. Over time, the inbox sure does become one big mess.
It's no surprise that some in the media have come out calling for email's demise. It's clunky. It's disruptive. It can chew up more time than it saves.
But it also works. When I email something to someone, I'm confident they'll see it. Chatter, Yammer and instant messaging may all have their place in business communications, but they probably won't replace the need for email. For all the talk of Twitter, Facebook and Google+, they all include email-like messaging capabilities.
So what to do when it becomes apparent that your email is impeding employee collaboration more than it helps? This was a question that weighed heavily on my mind toward the end of 2013 as I tried to find a way to streamline the emailed communications between 54 Hotwire employees across eight regions. My biggest problems included the following:
- search and discovery of attachments;
- version control of attachments;
- disruptive back-and-forth of noncritical or untargeted missives; and
- invoicing process and follow-ups.
I first considered some of the new social collaboration tools. But as Altimeter Group's Charlene Li once wrote: "Organizations have deployed social networking features with an initial enthusiastic reception, only to see these early efforts wither to just a few stalwart participants." I didn't want to have an adoption issue on my hands.
I then began sorting through a dozen or so email management tools and in the end chose ccGenie simply because it seemed the least difficult to set up. If it didn't take, I wouldn't have to do anything to transition back to our old way of emailing. We could just stop using the tool.
It took me just a few days after deploying the tool across my entire team to realize it had reached its first all-important milestone: everyone was using it. Today, two months later, it's still being used, and I'm seeing improvements in just about every level of functioning within my global team — but it's not just because of ccGenie.